GMO news related to the United States

16.06.2017

Emergency Ban of Dicamba Pesticides Recommended in Arkansas Misuse of Drift-prone Pesticide Has Prompted 87 Recent Complaints

LITTLE ROCK— In response to dozens of new complaints of misuse of the highly toxic and drift-prone pesticide dicamba, an Arkansas regulatory committee today recommended an emergency ban of the controversial pesticide that has spurred three lawsuits and a dispute that led to the murder of an Arkansas farmer.

If the Arkansas Pesticide Committee’s recommendation is approved on Tuesday by the Arkansas State Plant Board, as well as by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the ban on in-crop uses of the pesticide will be immediate.

“What we’re seeing in Arkansas is proof of what we all already knew — that this dangerous, drift-prone pesticide is not safe to use,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Assurances from pesticide makers that new dicamba products and tighter application regulations would end the drift problems that damaged hundreds of thousands of acres simply ignored reality.”

16.06.2017

WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -

More than 1,000 people claim a product that's still on store shelves has given them cancer.

Multiple class action lawsuits plague the maker of the popular weed killer, Roundup. Monsanto vehemently denies its product makes people sick.

But the NBC2 Investigators talked with a Cape Coral man who said the weed killer nearly killed him.

16.06.2017

Dicamba herbicide complaints up sharply in 2017

More than 50 complaints of crops damaged by dicamba herbicide drifting from neighboring farm fields have been reported to the Arkansas State Plant Board so far in 2017.

That number is up sharply from 2016, in which 32 dicamba drift complaints were filed in the entire year, said Tom Barber, extension weed scientist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Among the damaged crops are some 100 acres of soybeans in Division of Agriculture research plots at the Northeast Research and Extension Center at Keiser in Mississippi County.

Ironically, those soybean plots were part of research by Division of Agriculture weed scientist Jason Norsworthy on dicamba drift and volatility.

The dicamba drift and volatility trials, for herbicide products from Monsanto and Syngenta, are needed before the products can be certified for use in Arkansas, Norsworthy said. The damage from unexpected dicamba drift interrupted the trials, making Norsworthy’s data useless in most of the plots unless he replants and starts over.

16.06.2017

Crispr inventor worries about the unintended consequences of gene editing

In 2012, Jennifer Doudna, along with a small group of scientists, invented a ground-breaking technology to edit DNA known as Crispr. Scientists are still experimenting with it.

Crispr has been in the news recently because a group of scientists released a much-debated study arguing that editing genes can lead to many unintended, unpredictable consequences. In the controversial case, the scientists edited genetic blindness out of a group of mice and said they found two thousand unintended consequences. The scientific community is split on the results, and Doudna said it's hard to conclude anything from the study. But she knows the possible dangers of gene editing, and she warned about them in a Wired article in May.

Marketplace's senior tech correspondent Molly Wood spoke with Doudna at the Wired Business Conference in New York earlier this month and asked Doudna what concerns her the most about her revolutionary new technology?

09.06.2017

Harmonize conflicting regulations for genetically engineered plants and animals

In January this year, two US agencies proposed the first substantial overhaul in 30 years of how they regulate genetically altered crops and livestock. Some plant scientists expressed relief. Some animal researchers used more colourful language.

The proposals — one to govern plants, the other to govern animals — came to wildly different conclusions. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that many plants whose genomes have been altered by a single DNA letter change should not need approval before being released in the field. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contends that animals whose genomes have been similarly changed might have to go through a rigorous evaluation before being released onto the market.

30.05.2017

CRISPR gene editing can cause hundreds of unintended mutations

Although CRISPR can precisely target specific stretches of DNA, it sometimes hits other parts of the genome, causing DNA mutations that are not predicted by the computer algorithms that are widely used by researchers to look for off-target effects.

In the article below we see the typical honesty with which off-target effects of the CRISPR gene editing technique are discussed in the medical research field.

In the area of plant biotechnology, it’s a completely different story. GMO proponents dishonestly claim a precision, a predictability, and a controllability for the technology that remains theoretical and unproven.

26.05.2017

GMOs 2.0: New technologies, new risks, and no regulations

Many products made using new genetic engineering technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing are entering the market with little or no regulation and even with “natural” or “non-GMO” claims.

Twenty years ago, proponents of genetic engineering promised that GMO foods would increase yields, reduce pesticides, produce nutritious foods, and help feed the world. Today, those promises have fallen far short as the majority of GMO crops are engineered to withstand sprays of Roundup herbicide, which is increasingly documented as a risk to human health.

Now, new genetic engineering technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing are being hailed with the same promises of revolutionizing food production, medicine, fuels, textiles, and other areas.

But a closer look at this next generation or “GMOs 2.0” technologies reveals possibly even greater risks than existing GMO technology with possible human health risks and negative impacts on farming communities worldwide, among other unintended consequences. And while products developed using current genetic engineering methods are regulated by the U.S. government, GMOs 2.0 products are entering the market with few or no regulations.

24.05.2017

Critics claim liability bill would banish GMOs from Oregon

Critics of a bill imposing liability on GMO patent holders say it would effectively banish biotech crops from Oregon.

SALEM — A proposed bill imposing new financial liability on biotech patent holders in Oregon would effectively banish genetically engineered crops from the state, opponents claim.

Under House Bill 2739, biotech patent holders would be liable for triple the economic damages caused by the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The bill is now before the House Rules Committee, which is considering an amendment clarifying when landowners can file lawsuits over GMOs on their property and the defenses available to patent holders, among other provisions.

The amendment would also ensure that patent holders cannot transfer liability to farmers who cultivate GMOs, though they could transfer liability to seed companies.

“It’s putting the onus on the producers and people who sell these crops rather than grow them,” said Amy van Saun, an attorney with the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit that supports HB 2739.

14.05.2017

GM moths to be released in New York State?

Please object!

Cornell University has applied for a permit to execute the world’s first open-air trial of a genetically engineered diamondback moth (GDM). The purpose of this new GM insect is to reduce pest populations of diamondback moths through engineering a new female lethality trait (female larvae die, and males go on to reproduce until the population is destroyed) into male GDM.

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Take action!

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is holding a public consultation on the proposal to release the GM diamondback moths.

Please object to the proposal. You can use the bullet points given below (in “Points for your comments to the USDA/APHIS”).

Please submit your comments here BEFORE May 19, 2017:

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2014-0056

by clicking on the box, “Comment Now!”

06.05.2017

Field Test of GMO Algae Sparks Outrage

Scientists from the University of California at San Diego and Sapphire Energy released results Thursday from the first open-pond trials of genetically engineered microalgae.

The study, along with research and development of genetically modified (GMO) algae for biofuels, is occurring ahead of adequate regulatory oversight, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's process to establish and update regulations for genetically engineered algae to protect human health and the environment.

"This study confirmed that genetically engineered microalgae grown in open ponds will escape and spread into the environment. Once this genie is out of the bottle, there is no way to put it back," said Dana Perls, senior campaigner with Friends of the Earth.